fbpx

Mistaken Belief Overturns Estate Split Agreement

29th March 2018 By Arman Khosravi

When the male partner of a cohabiting couple died, apparently without leaving a will, after they had lived together for more than 40 years, his estate was administered according to the laws of intestacy, with the result that no provision was made for his partner because she had no right to a share of it under the intestacy rules. Instead, his estate was destined to pass by law to his cousins.

His partner could have brought a claim against his estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision to be made for her, so the family reached an agreed settlement with her, under which she was given the right to remain in the property for life and a lump sum of £25,000 out of the man’s estate. Six years later, in 2014, she died.

When her executors were going through her effects, they found a will made by her former partner in 1973 that was previously undiscovered. This left the bulk of his estate to her, including the property she lived in. Her assets on death would have been far greater had the will not been mislaid. Her will left her estate to charity.

The find came after the normal time limit for lodging a claim against the man’s estate, which had long since been dealt with, except as regards the house. The executors of her will assigned the right to pursue a claim to the charities who stood to benefit under it. They, in turn, claimed that the settlement between the woman and her partner’s cousins was void, being based on the mistaken belief that he had left no will. The charities were given permission by the court to make an ‘out of time’ claim.

Unusually, the cousins did not contest the action, accepting instead that it was right for the property to pass to the charities. In the circumstances, the court accepted that the agreement should be set aside and the terms of the original will should stand, save only that all the legal costs should come from the man’s estate.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...